'The Orville' Ratings Rise With Season 2 Premiere

The Orville returned to FOX with strong ratings for its second season premiere.

The Orville’s Season Two premiere episode “Ja’loja” aired to an audience of 4.75 million, including a 1.3 key demo rating. Those are The Orville’s best numbers since its second episode, beating even the show’s first season finale (3.5 million/0.9 demo) and first season average (4.3 million/1.25 demo).

So what do The Orville’s Season Two premiere episode and that second Season One episode have in common? Sunday Night Football. Both episodes had NFL football as a lead-in, airing in special Sunday night slots before moving to Thursdays for the remainder of the season.

The episode did have significantly lower ratings than The Orville's Season One premiere, which also followed NFL football and was viewed by 8.6 million viewers and earned 2.8 key demo rating.

You can check out the trailer for the new season of The Orville, as well as a sneak preview of things to come. FOX revealed a synopsis teasing upcoming storylines:

“In Season Two, ED (MacFarlane) and KELLY’s (Adrianne Palicki) relationship will take a new turn, while the ship’s crew will meet never-before-seen aliens, face old adversaries the Krill, make first contact with a new civilization and revisit the planet Moclus.”

The Orville Season Two will add Jessica Szohr as a new series regular and Chris Johnson in a recurring role. Multiple Star Trek actors are also expected to guest star.

Star Trek: The Next Generation star and director Jonathan Frakes will also contribute to the new season of The Orville. At a convention, Frakes spoke about the series in comparison to CBS All Access's Star Trek: Discovery.

“The Star Trek that we have has really found its voice, and Discovery has really found its voice," Frakes explained earlier this year. "And The Orville has filled in a void. For a lot of people, The Orville is their new Star Trek because it does tell stories like [The Next Generation], and it’s got wild humor in it.

"[Seth MacFarlane] clearly wanted [The Orville] to look like [The Next Generation]," Frakes added. "So, he hired the cinematographer [Marvin Rush] and the camera operator, and Brannon Braga, who wrote First Contact among other things that are fabulous. Robbie Duncan McNeill, one of our wonderful directors from Voyager, James Conway, who directed a bunch of great Next Gen episodes; he hired me. He filled the room with Next Gen people so that the show would look and feel like it. I think he did it."

What did you think of The Orville Season 2 premiere? Let us know in the comments!

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The Orville airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.

[H/T] TV Line